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Morehead State University alumnus Steve Kazee won the Tony Award Sunday night for “Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical” for his role in “Once.”
The musical, based on the film about a couple of struggling musicians whose hearts connect in Dublin, topped the list of nominations for Broadway’s biggest prize. “Once,” which opened on Broadway in March, earned a total of eight awards from its 11 nominations, including winning best musical.
Kazee beat out Danny Burstein and Ron Raines, both from “Follies,” Jeremy Jordan from “Newsies” and Norm Lewis from “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess.”
Upon winning the award, he paid tribute to his cast, his co-star Cristin Milioti and his mother, who died after a 14-year battle with cancer.
“My mother passed on Easter Sunday, and I came back to this show, and this cast has carried me around and made me feel alive, and I will never be able to fully repay them,” said Kazee.
“My mother told me once, she always told me before shows to get up there and show them whose little boy you are. And I’m showing today that I am the son of Kathy Withrow Kazee, who lost a fight on Easter Sunday with cancer. And I miss you every day, and I feel you with me tonight.”
The award show was televised on CBS from the Beacon Theater in New York.
Kazee, a native of Ashland, Ky., earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in theatre from MSU in 2002. After graduation, he moved to New York, received his M.F.A. degree from the Graduate Acting Program at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.
In 2006, Kazee landed the role of Sir Lancelot in the smash Broadway musical comedy “Spamalot.” He starred in several plays while making the jump to television with guest appearances on shows like “Numb3rs,” “Medium,” “NCIS” and “CSI.” He even landed a regular role on his first sitcom when he starred in the CMT comedy “Working Class.”
Story from Morehead State University. Video from the official Tony Awards YouTube page. Photo from www.stevekazee.com.
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